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Article November 21st, 2017

Pitch perfect? On the hunt for new policy ideas in Cambridge

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Check out for details of a new policy competition for students at Cambridge University

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Where's the next big idea? @CamPolicyPitch has been designed to uncover fresh approaches to government challenges

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Are you ready to pitch? Our judges are looking for fresh, innovative ideas to tackle longstanding problems

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One thing's for sure, no one ever went into public service for the quiet life. Or if they did - they will have been sorely disappointed by the complex reality of delivering government services.

Against a backdrop of ever-rising citizen expectations, policymakers are facing an array of issues ranging from demographic changes to limited budgets, creaking infrastructure to - in the UK's case - the myriad challenges associated with Brexit. And all played out under fierce public, political and media scrutiny. No wonder, then, that there is a continuing appetite for new ideas and new solutions - something I myself witnessed during my time in the public sector.

That's why the Centre for Public Impact is proud to be supporting the Cambridge Policy Pitch, a new competition for Cambridge University students to pitch their solutions to pressing public problems and possibly win £1,000 for their efforts. To help structure their pitches, teams will be provided with the Public Impact Fundamentals, CPI's framework for understanding the elements that are required to maximise the impact of policy initiatives.

Wanted: new ideas

This new competition has been designed to help uncover innovative approaches to significant issues of the day. The approach is very simple - each team has five minutes to present a policy challenge and their proposed solution to a panel of judges.

Developed and run by the Cambridge Institute for Public Policy at the university's Department of Politics and International Studies, the competition will bring together those interested in finding solutions to public problems, whether they are in the Medical School, in Engineering, the Judge Business School, in History or any of the other departments of the university. Solutions can come from anywhere and we're on the hunt for new approaches and new voices.

We are excited to see how many student teams will engage with providing high-class, innovative solutions to public policy challenges, at a time when the structures of politics are being challenged around the world. Now more than ever we need to have clear sight of how we are trying to solve our common problems using all of the resources of the public and the private sector.

Rules and regs

To enter the Cambridge Policy Pitch you need to be a current undergraduate, graduate student or post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge. There is a minimum of two and maximum of four members per team, and only undergraduate/post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers of the University of Cambridge are eligible to enter. There must also be at least one undergraduate or post-graduate student per team, and at least two university departments must be represented.

A panel of expert judges including leading policy professionals, including CPI's executive director, Adrian Brown, will look for innovative approaches to any significant issue, such as health-care, the environment, risks from technology, or inequality. It is hoped the new competition will raise awareness of public policy at Cambridge and encourage more students to consider careers in policy-related roles, in either the public or private sectors.

To receive email updates and notifications please register here and more details can be found on this FAQ page. If you would like to contact the organisers with a query or a request please email the team at You can also follow us @CPI_Foundation and @CamPolicyPitch to receive updates as we launch the competition and head into the heats.

We are excited about what university's students have to offer - their passion, their ideas and their proposals. Bring on the first pitch!

Written by:

Amy Noonan Global People and Operations Manager
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